Want some pre Reading reading and some potentially accurate predictions? Then you’ve come to the right place. Clare, Zoë, Seb & Rich all have their say about this upcoming televised EFL Championship fixture. WARNING: Contains Poetry References
Reading is a beautiful town, standing as it does on the banks of the M4. Always packed to the rafters for home games, the club’s historic and architecturally important stadium, The Madejski*, lies just a long and inconvenient bus journey from the town centre. Once there, you’ll be rewarded by the tranquil and picturesque surroundings of the Reading Gate Retail Park. There’s a Curry’s, an Oak Furniture Land and a McDonald’s. Lovely stuff. No wonder Nelson didn’t want to go there.
No, but seriously. Reading’s a great place as it gives easy access to both London and Oxford.
For one of the biggest, most famous old clubs in Britain, they’ve disappointed this season to date. Jaap Stam hasn’t got them going yet, and after losing to Huddersfield in last season’s play-offs, they’ll be expecting to be there or thereabouts again.
They also have money, hence their reported extortionate bids for Oliveira in August. They are backed, as so many clubs these days are, by a Chinese consortium so expectations are high among their fans. Which possibly explains some of their supporters attitude over the whole Nelson saga. Mind you, some of ours let themselves down too.
Paul McShane is their skipper. Best known for his long running role as Camp Comedian, Ted Bovis in Hi-De-Hi, the experienced stopper is an international team mate of our Wes. Yann Cormorant is one to watch, one of the best players in the Championship, a consummate diver and virtually waterproof.
*Madejski comes from the old English term for ‘Majestic’.
Fun (?) fact: Oscar Wilde wrote The Ballad Of Reading Gaol shortly after his release from said institution after serving a sentence for homosexual offences. Inconceivable as that is today, it remains the most culturally significant thing that has ever happened in Reading. Apart from Nirvana playing the festival.
RJ: With memories fairly fresh of our 7-1 shellacking of them at FCR, and it really could have been 10, it will be interesting to see what happens. Though the same fixture last season yielded a 3-1 win for the Royals, with Jonny WHO(?)son being sent off for handball on the goal line. Let’s hope this time round it’s Reading who are in the cave of black despair.
Rich Reckons: We won’t concede seven, but scoring still an issue for us. Reading 1 - Riting Rithmatic 1.
ZW: Ah, that 7-1, the best part of last season by a country mile, unless you count Alex’s Neil’s woolly hat that made him look like one of the baddies from Home Alone. We can’t expect the same again, of course. It’s been a long month and the players have put in such a lot of effort they must surely be fatigued. Still, last push before the international break and a well-earned rest. I’d take a point, but am daring to dream of another narrow victory by a single goal.
Zoë Assumes: 1-0 to the Ars-en-oh wait. 1-0 to Norwich and some more wonderful defending.
CT: I'm not very good at predictions, so I wouldn't bother reading on. But as we take Reading on, a prediction must be made. Much has changed since that glorious April day when we made them look less Premier League hopefuls, more Wealdstone Rovers. For one we appear to have morphed into West Brom. Reading need to try to break down ‘The Wall’, and as the only way to break down ‘The Wall’ is with a zombie dragon who breathes blue fire* things are likely to be tough for our hosts. Zombie dragons are hard to come by at short notice and I’m not sure Jon Dadi Bodvarsson is a good substitute.
* Game of Thrones, philistine.
Clare Calculates: 1-0 to Reading, but purely because my 1-0 to Boro predicition worked in our favour. I'll take the hit for the sake of my team winning. I'm nice like that. And very superstitious.
SW: When trying to remember what I know about Reading I am forever troubled with flashbacks to that song THE OFFICIAL CLUB produced a few years back. It must have seemed like such a good idea. The Disney-like production; the Ivo Pinto-esque lyrics; the Topshop models who couldn’t look less like your everyday footie fan. If you haven’t seen it, watch it, laugh, cry, and wonder how you ended up there in the first place.
Besides that I remember us throwing away a 3-1 lead in 2010, a hatefully boring 0-0 in ‘11 and getting Robson-Kanu-ed in ‘14. I’m more optimistic this time with Timmy, Zimmy and Tommy. Oliveira’s very brief appearance against ‘Boro perhaps also foreshadows his forthcoming return to the starting XI.
Seb Foresees: A 3-1 Norwich City victory.